Gratitude Week, Day 7: The Finest Fruits


November 24, 2018, Prescott-

I have decided to end this week of gratitude, by looking back at the ten best choices I ever made.  I am grateful to the Universe for having placed these in front of me and I have a measure of self-gratitude for having made them.

10,  Serving in the Army– At 18, I had little to show for my life. There was no discipline, of which to speak and my world consisted of drooling over girls and imbibing too much alcohol, too fast.  Other-imposed discipline gave me a regimen, which I could add to the work ethic that my parents instilled in each of us and it set me on  a course of self-reliance, which I still need and use.

9.  Studying Psychology- It didn’t make me wealthy and barely got me a job, but knowing something of what makes the human mind tick has given me insight into myself and has made me more understanding of others.

8. Living on the Navajo Nation- I have a strong genetic memory of the Indigenous. I am not much, in terms of blood quantum, but my nature fairly burns with the feeling that I belong in the woodlands; that I am a gatherer and a sharer; that I am one with the Universe. Being on the same page, day to day, with Dineh (Navajo) and Hopi people reinforced that unity.

7. Blogging-   Writing is a skill that three of my four high school English teachers saw as a talent that I needed to sharpen.  They gave me the tools to keep on sharpening that talent.  College brought it up another notch.  As a caretaker, and then as a widower, far from extended family, blogging gave me an outlet, one step up from journaling  (which I also still do) and a wider appreciative audience.

6, Returning to work, full time- In 2016, having been a substitute teacher, with a couple of other jobs, whilst being Penny’s caretaker, I found a niche at Prescott High School.  My place there was, more or less, secure and I was urged to return full-time, for the years leading up to my retirement from education.  That work has been fulfilling, and will remain so until I reach 70, two years from now.

5.  Working as a counselor- As a school counselor, I was able to impact thousands of lives, over the span of eleven years, between Tuba City and Keams Canyon/Jeddito, and some of those lives were saved.  I am haunted by  a few lives that weren’t and by those I couldn’t reach.  The majority, though, learned life skills and resilience, and knew that someone had their backs.

4. Settling in Prescott- The job aside, moving here after Penny’s passing was a lifesaver.  I had the anchor of a house, for the time I needed it, and of a Faith Community with whom I was already familiar and who were not intimate with Penny’s suffering.  That last was important.  I could not have the constant reminders of all that we had endured together.  Since then, I have made many new friends and branched out in several directions-all healthy.

3. Widespread travel-Besides going back and forth from Arizona to the East Coast, for family visits, my wanderlust has taken me to western Europe, Hawai’i, the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska.  I took in a small swath of eastern Canada, last summer and am likely to cross our northern neighbour again, in the summer of 2020.  California, Nevada and Colorado have also seen a lot of me, these past seven years, as have the South and Midwest.  This is an essential part of who I am.

2.  Getting married- I have always been crazy about girls and women.  There isn’t much about the opposite gender that I don’t like, though I am proud to be male.    Self-dislike got in the way, though, when I found myself drawn to one young lady after another.  Penny didn’t fall for any of that, and we built a solid foundation, by which both of us were able to tame most of our demons and raise a fine young man, who has taken his full place in the world.

1. Recognizing Baha’u’llah- I received a solid spiritual foundation, having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith. As I matured, though, the rituals and practices began to feel automatic to me, and I have always known that there is a continuity to Divine Revelation, superseding any one of the faiths or denominations that are commonplace.  In 1972, I heard of Baha’u’llah, and the Baha’i Faith, for the first time.  Nine years later, I embraced Baha’i as my own.  I have found its precepts teach everything in which I already believe, and the teachings regarding health are exactly what I needed, to tame the demon of alcohol dependence.  Far beyond those, however, are the vision of planetary and human unity-dispelling the darknesses of racism, nationalism and excessive materialism.

I am sure I will have other choices to make, in the coming days, months, and years.  Perhaps a life-changer will be among them, as well.

The Most Important Relationship Skill: Do You Have It? — phicklephilly


I found this article the other day and thought I’d share it here. Enjoy! For years I prided myself on being an excellent communicator. I built a previous career on an ability to express my feelings and be vulnerable with the people around me. While I was gaining recognition in the field for my […]

via The Most Important Relationship Skill: Do You Have It? — phicklephilly

Convergence and Re-emergence


October 9, 2018, Prescott-

It was a consummate joy to have been in Arcosanti, for 2 1/2 incredible days.  The social climate felt different to me than last year’s- in an incredibly beautiful way.  I think that is a continuance of the greater self-confidence I have felt this year, both at work and at leisure.

In one sense, the trials that come along have sparked incidents that have actually augmented the lessons which the trials themselves are meant to impart.  The vandalism to my Elantra, in Montreal, was followed by an evening of healing and joy, at Auberge Bishop, a visit to my Grandma’s hometown and the incredible celebratory weekend in Philadelphia.  A solemn, but blessed, visit with my mother-in-law, was followed by an affirming day with an old Baha’i friend in North Carolina and two days in the sun, with two other friends, in eastern Tennessee.

I felt my rhythm come back, that Sunday night in Montreal, explode in Philadelphia and flow like heaven, this past weekend.  A powerful new friend helped greatly in that regard, and more than she may realize.  Then, too, the music we enjoyed and in which we reveled, was a huge part of this flow.  There were academic presentations as well,  plus I served in the kitchen and in the Monday morning transition to another workshop week.

Insightful, talented men and women brought us to our feet, engaging body and soul.

Most powerful of all was Daniel Hirtz, whose love of the drum, as a sacred instrument of healing, imparted several affirmations of my own growing love of this instrument.  While a few sad, misguided people tried to interrupt Daniel’s session with us, it continued, until the group felt fulfilled.  Drumming and breathing are keys to healing.

Returning to Prescott, I resumed work with another  friend of power, who needed help with getting a safe living situation. That work has partly been achieved, and will continue, albeit around my other endeavours, until it reaches a sense of permanence.

As for my trip to California, it has been delayed by two days, so that the above-mentioned work will see a few more steps achieved, and that a dental procedure can be completed. More details about the coming Thursday-Sunday, in the next post.

For now, I am grateful to Daniel, Pam, Eliana, Tom, Jess, Nick, Conor, Beth Ann, Dave, Ray and all the kids-of-all-ages who made Convergence 2018 such a surging beginning to Autumn.

Old Haven, New Family


June 24, 2018, Spring Hill, FL-

I have hopped around a lot, over the past week or so, spending Father’s Day with my son, and daughter-in-law to be, in the Independence Hall area of Philadelphia, touring more historic sites in Baltimore and in Virginia’s Tidewater region, meeting a surrogate daughter for dinner, paying homage at a Baha’i property in South Carolina, then driving across the Palmetto State, for another afternoon visit with an old friend from Xanga days.

Camping, the other night, featured my tent protecting me from three separate downpours, which had thunder and lightning make several appearances. I visited a couple of small towns, prior to coming here, yesterday, after breaking soggy camp.

Edgefield has a lovely town square and many friendly people out and about. Aiken is even more engaging and welcoming, and has my newest coffee shop friend: New Moon. I put this establishment right up there with Wild Iris and Artful Dodger, whose praises I have sung more than once. As Artful was way out of my way this time, New Moon made up for it.

I cherish finding places in which I almost immediately feel like family. It certainly makes what could feel old, after a bit, a good deal more rewarding.

It was getting old, yesterday evening, driving across narrow mid-Georgia roadways and down along I-75. Ocala, though, has established itself as a mid-way comfort point, so I stayed at Budget Host.

Spring Hill is now part of my triangle of homes, with Prescott and Saugus at the other two points. There are many other safe havens as well, from southern California to Montreal, southeast Alaska to the Shenandoah.

So, regardless of what the next many weeks, months and years hold, I feel confident and safe. Oh, and I have started checking out computers, so photo blogs are not far from being back.

Glory in Perspective


June 19, 2018, Williamsburg-

I have used the two days, since leaving Philadelphia, to visit a couple of places that Penny, Aram and I missed on an ambitious, but tortuous, road trip, in 2007.

Throwing in a short photo shoot at the closed Edgar Allan Poe House, on Baltimore’s West Side, and some scenes in the Mount Vernon section, I found used on Fort McHenry, one of the places we missed, 11 years ago.

I found the structural aspects fascinating and Francis Scott Key’s complicated story, compelling. More about these, when The 2018 Road series resumes.

My next mission was to visit Penny’s second cousin, in southeast Maryland, as she had lost her mother, four months ago. It was a cathartic and crucial two hours.

As it happens, two other events occurred, as I was leaving HI-Baltimore: Penny’s only living aunt passed away, at the age of 99 and Aram got engaged.

Today, after meandering some, as far as Point Lookout, Maryland’s southern tip, I headed for Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the U.S. For lack of a $5 bill, I forewent visiting Point Lookout, with nearby Scotland Beach as a substitute. Just as well, as Jamestown is well worth a full four hours, or more.

This brings up the matters of nationalism and glory. Both at Fort McHenry and at Jamestown, the curators have taken great pains to illustrate the roles of people of colour in every chapter of our national story. I hope to see more of this, as the educational portion of my journey continues.

Stripping the Mindfulness Label


Finding Dharma


What is Mindfulness? I think the better question would be what is it NOT.

This year I have taken on the task of creating a business which offers mindfulness training and support for teachers (K-16) called Uplift Teachers. To start I completed an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course through the UMASS Medical School. Before doing this I was told by a mentor that I already was living mindfully but I have to admit I really wasn’t in a whole and complete way. I was doing daily gratitudes, trying to incorporate meditation into my daily life. I was definitely moving away from unrealistic expectations of perfection and the drive to push myself beyond my limits on a daily basis. This was all good and a definite beginning to living mindfully. But doing this course opened my eyes and showed me exactly how I was still caught up in the run…

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Who Are You?


Eclipsed Words By Aishwarya Shah

It breaks my heart that most people haven’t a clue about who they really are. Nearly all of the people I talk with, whether on the “path” or not, do not recognize the majesty of their being.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that we came to this planet as physical beings with the foremost intent to forget who we really are!

We wanted to have the experience of removing ourselves from Source (or God, or Goddess, The Divine or whatever) so that we could have the awesome experience of remembering.

That people forget really isn’t that big of a deal. But that people rememberis a big deal.

Why? Because if you remember that you are divine, you remember that in your divinity you have been given the gift of creation. You are a god being.

You are also eternal. You can never die…

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May 2, 2018, Prescott-

I am now being asked to provide my e-mail address and name, for every comment I wish to make on any post in my reader.  Word Press refuses to recognize my e-mail address and its password.  So, if I seem like I am not caring about your posts- blame Word Press.  I have not trolled anyone, nor have I intentionally set out to hurt anybody.  WP, GET OVER IT!!

Musings in Darkness


April 30, 2018, Twin Arrows, AZ-

As I sit in this quiet hotel lobby, watching over a little boy and his family, in various stages of sleep, I feel an odd comfort. They may very well have lost their home by now.

The power in their forest home may be shut off, also, as authorities seek to curb further sources of fire. The wind, meanwhile, is roaring, and is no doubt being answered by the blaze, 60 miles to the southeast, in a hideous call and response.

I am as alone now, as I’ve been in quite a while. An online group, with whom I’ve been sharing some fairly deep thoughts, have gone dark, after one of their number took exception to a post I wrote on their site. I deleted the post, but no matter. What’s done is done and even among the enlightened, there are limits to what one is allowed to say.

Here, at least, I can pretty much speak freely, so long as I am respectful of others. I love so many, albeit mostly not in a romantic way. (There are only two of whom I can say I am inclined that way and I’ve met neither, in person, so that may be fanciful thinking.) It matters little, though I am bound to be scolded for entertaining such feelings, yet again. We live in a judgemental society.

Enough of this. I need to rest a bit and focus my thoughts on the day ahead. There will be the drive back to Prescott, a couple hours of work, a haircut and a chiropractic treatment, then more rest and some time at the gym.

Be safe and well. I love you all.

Let’s Talk About Bleach Enemas


Yes, this is apparently a thing- just like Tide Pods. Except, it’s not Millennials and Founders doing this to themselves. It’s parents-of various generations, doing this to their kids. BLEACH.IS.POISON.

Wibbly Wobbly, Neuro-UNlogical Stuff

A few days ago in a parenting facebook group someone posted asking about parasite cleansing protocols. I asked if they were referring to bleach enemas, which got some LOL responses. Turns out, people thought I was joking. They didn’t know that some parents are so insistent on “fighting autism” and “reclaiming” their child that they squirt bleach up their kid’s butts to “kill the parasites.” And post pictures of the shredded lining of the intestines that come out, insisting it’s the dead “parasites” that are causing their child’s autism. This is a real, actual thing, and people need to know about this.

Horribly enough, this isn’t even a new thing. If you Google “bleach enemas” there was a lot of uproar about it 5 years ago. It was in the media a bit and a petition was made, but that is useless because it’s not the government or…

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